Original X-Men star Famke Janssen, who played a Jean Grey corrupted by the Phoenix Force in X-Men: The Last Stand, hopes the famed comic book story from Chris Claremont and John Byrne is faithfully recreated in the upcoming Dark Phoenix.
“I’m glad that the Dark Phoenix saga is finally getting its due,” Janssen told Inverse.
“When we tackled it in The Last Stand, it wasn’t given enough time. I remember hearing from fans after we finished the film that they were disappointed that an enormous moment in the comics was given so little screen time. I’m happy for them to give Phoenix the due that she deserves.”
2006’s Brett Ratner-directed The Last Stand centered around Jean, resurrected after her apparent death in X2: X-Men United, now in possession of the all-powerful Phoenix Force — an unwieldy power coveted by radical mutant leader Magneto (Ian McKellen), who pushed back against an anti-mutant gene suppressant capable of “curing” the gifted.
A twisted and possessed Jean killed lover Cyclops (James Marsden) and mentor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) before her rampage was ultimately halted by Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) during an assault on Alcatraz.
The abbreviated adaptation of the comic books’ Dark Phoenix Saga was originally intended to play out in 2003’s X2, which would have seen Jean’s full-fledged transformation into Phoenix.
Screenwriter Zak Penn said in March it was deemed “too soon” to tackle such a hefty story in the first sequel to 2000’s franchise-launching X-Men, telling director Bryan Singer he should “establish [the universe] more” before going into Phoenix.
Series scribe and producer Simon Kinberg, who co-scripted The Last Stand, serves as writer-director on next summer’s Dark Phoenix, which will again adapt the storyline with a younger Jean (Sophie Turner) acting as the vessel for the cosmic force.
The Days of Future Past and Apocalypse follow-up centers around the X-Men, including a younger Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Professor Xavier (James McAvoy), attempting to contain an unstable Jean as she wrestles with the dangerous entity inside her. As the Phoenix is unleashed, the mutant super-group will be forced to confront aliens wishing to weaponize the deadly force and rule the galaxy.
Despite the apparent retread of a well-worn story, Kinberg said he envisioned the film as a “new chapter” for the near-20-year-old X-Men franchise.
Starring Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, and Jessica Chastain, Dark Phoenix opens June 7, 2019.